Thursday, December 31, 2009

Water Towers

Water Towers... They store water for towns.  Some are big, some are small and some are tourist attractions.  That's right some people spend their vacation time looking for unique water towers like this one in Collinsville, Il. 

The World's Largest Catsup Bottle water tower.
It even has it's own festival and fan club. 
Visit the website and find out more.

See more unique water towers at these websites:
photos, videos, maps, murals, news and even water tower games.
unique water towers listed by state
Learn about water towers great links and trivia such as Can you swim inside a water tower. You're going to have to visit the site to find out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Free Puzzle

Here is a Word Sudoku I created just for you!  Don't be scared by the letters, you solve it the same as a regular sudoku.  Enjoy!
Word Sudoku - Winter

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More Birds

The Project Feeder Watch continues.  Here are some visitors during my last count day.
See if you can identify these birds.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bird Count

Recently, I put up my bird feeders and the first visitor of the season was this Northern Cardinal.

It is my second year participating in Project Feeder Watch.  People all across the US count the number and types of birds that visit their backyards on designated days.  The information goes to scientist at Cornell University.  The scientist use the data to learn more about birds.  It's a Citizen Science project.  People interested in science but not trained as scientist get to help with real science projects.  I have learned alot about birds by taking part in this project.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where's George?

Have you ever wondered how far your money goes?  I don't mean stretching your budget to buy more things.  I mean how far does a single dollar bill travel after it leaves your pocket.   See that dollar bill in my hand.  It traveled 937 miles. 


How do I know that?  I found out on the website Where's George.  If you find a US dollar bill with this written on it.

It means someone registered this bill with  Go to the website, type in the bills serial number and you will see a list of all the places this dollar bill has been.  It's a fun way to see how far your money has traveled. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flower Update

The paperwhite flower bulbs are growing like crazy!

  One of them is even starting to bloom.

If you want blooms all winter long plant a new bulb each week.  Then a new bulb will always being growing and blooming.  Remember to use paperwhite bulbs because they do not need a cold period.  You can just plant them and watch them grow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm busy getting ready for the big feast tomorrow.  Yes, it's Thanksgiving time here in the United States.  That means our family will get together for a big meal of Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, veggies, etc.  And don't forget the pumpkin pie!

Here are some fun Thaksgiving activities we found on the web -

Coloring page from cluck on... hee hee... I mean click on the free button for all of the coloring pages.  I printed out and colored the newest turkey design.  Then I printed out the greeting and taped them on my front door and oven.

My mother-in-law made this cute edible pilgrim's hat for a place card.  You can find the directions at Family Fun Marshmallow Pilgrim Hat.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Corny Code

Here's a puzzle for you to print and play.  If you need a hint or want to check your answer look at the bottom of this post.  Enjoy!
Corny Code

I know, it's pretty corny....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flower update

It's been about a week since I planted the Paperwhite bulbs. (Ignore the dates!  I took a few extra days putting the first video up.)   Check out my video blog and see how they're growing. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Forcing Flower Bulbs

Would you like to grow one of these?  It's easy!  I'll show you how in this video.

 You will need
  • Paperwhite bulbs (Narcissus)
  • a jar, cup or bowl at least 3" deep (that can hold water)
  • pebbles
  • water

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Crosswords

I love to do the New York Times Crossword Puzzle on Mondays.  Why?  It's the easiest puzzle of the week.  The NYT puzzle gets harder as the week goes on.   Monday is the easiest and Saturday is the hardest.  Sunday is the biggest puzzle but it's only as hard as the typical Thursday puzzle (which is still pretty hard if you ask me!)

Here is a clue from today's puzzle
53 across Rulers until 1917

hmm... sounds familiar.  This is a common crossword answer but has 2 accepted spellings.  See how I've dealt with this in a past blog post

I'm not the only one who uses this strategy... check out the NYT Wordplay Blog.

Happy puzzling!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The New Me

Happy Halloween!! I got a special make over just for the holiday. What do you think? Boo-tiful!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Color me Orange

Every Tuesday Author and Illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba adds a new coloring page to her website.  This week's page features a witchy mouse sitting on a Jack O' Lantern.  It's absolute free and she has many designs to choose from.  Get out your crayons and down load one for yourself.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crossword Monday

Here is a clue from today's New York Time's crossword puzzle.

1 down Capital of Italia

Notice how the clue says Italia rather than Italy. What does that mean when you are trying to solve a clue? It's a big hint! Why? Because clues and answers always match. That means if the clue uses a foreign language (Italia is Italian for Italy) then the answer will be in the same foreign language. (So instead of Rome the answer will be .....)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

Halloween is almost here and that means it's pumpkin carving time. Practice your pumpkin faces at this website on-line pumpkin carving.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Color of Money

Here's a fun thing to try if you have a $5, $10, or $20 and a black light. Watch my video log and find out what happens.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Craft Project

While surfing the web I came across this cute project on Crafty Gardener. It has easy step by step directions with photos for creating your own lady bug pet rock. Try it today!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Read with Me... Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Hi! I'm back from the library with a copy of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Let's read it together.

Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How's the weather?

I just found out something cool.... The book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has been turned into a 3D movie! It's opening Sept 19. I bet you already knew that didn't you. You're so smart.

Anyway, they have a fun website with games and trailers.

It's been a long time since I've read the book so I'm going to run down to my local library and check it out. Bye!

Friday, August 14, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation....

This summer I visited an awesome butterfly exhibit in Gainesville, Florida. There were butterflies everywhere. There were big ones, little ones, yellow ones, blue ones, striped ones.... Well, you get the idea. Check out my video and see them for yourself. Better yet, if you are ever in Gainesville visit the Florida Museum of Natural History and make your own video.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Presidential Trivia

Today is the birthday of a US President. Do you know which one? I'll give you a hint - This president is still living.

Who was the youngest person to serve as a US President?

In case you didn't get enough Presidential Trivia try this quiz from the Dayton Daily News

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Do you know this one....

Do you know what Arachibutyrophobia is?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Space Shuttle

The weather wins for today. I was all set to watch NASA launch the Space Shuttle Endeavour in to space but the launch was scrubbed due to bad weather. They will try again tomorrow July 13 at 6:51 pm eastern standard time. You can watch for yourself at Click on the link for NASA TV. You can watch and listen as all of the workers prepare the shuttle for lift off. You'll feel like you are part of the action!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pretzel Bites

Happy 4th of July!

I made some soft pretzels today for a special 4th of July treat. Instead of twisting them like a normal pretzel I made small bite sized pretzels in the shape of stars. (I used a star shaped cookie cutter!)

Have you ever wondered how pretzels are made? The secret is they are boiled before you cook them in the oven. That's what gives them a chewy texture. You can make them yourself with the help of a grown-up.

Start with bread dough. I use a bread machine to make the dough. I don't even bother to use a pretzel dough recipe, just regular bread dough. You can buy bread dough at the grocery store if you don't have a bread machine. Then twist or cut the dough into shape. They can be any shape at all. Let them rise in a warm spot for about 30 or 40 minutes on a lightly greased baking sheet.

A grown-up should do these things: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put 8 cups of water in a big pot and add 2 Tbs of baking soda. When the water is boiling, add the pretzels a few at a time. Leave them in about 30 seconds then put them on a wire rack to drain.

Put the pretzels back on a greased cookie sheet and top with salt. A little or a lot it's up to you.

A grown-up should put the baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown. Let them cool and then eat with mustard!

Read Alton Brown's pretzel recipe on the Food Network site.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Money Quiz - Know your Dough

How well do you
Know your Dough?
Take this quiz to test your knowledge of US currency.

Question 1His face appears on the $5 bill but his stove pipe hat wouldn't fit.

Question 2
She was a first lady and the only woman to be pictured on US currency (the $1 silver
certificate issued in 1886, 1891, and 1896.)

Question 3
He was George Washington's Treasury Secretary and can now be seen on the $10.

Question 4
One pound of $20 bills is worth how much?
a - $20
b - $9080
c - $20,000
d - $1,400,620

Question 5
He is the face on the $50 bill so don't call him useless.

Question 6
How many times would you have to fold a bill back and forth before it would tear? (folding
once forward and once backwards equals 1 time)
a - 4 times
b - 40 times
c - 400 times
d - 4000 times

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


When I was a kid I loved to write secret messages in code. One of my favorites was this easy to remember cipher. (cipher is another name for code.)
Draw 2 tic tac toe grids and 2 X X. Put dots in each of the cells of the second grid and X like this...
Now starting in the top of the first grid write the letter A and continue writing one letter in each box. You will have just enough cells for each letter of the alphabet.
Now to write a secret message draw the shape of the cell (without the letter, of course!) Here's what my name would look like written with this code. Try it with your name.
To decode a message match the shape to the original and copy down the letter in that square. For example...

What does this message say?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New York Times Crossword Puzzle Review

This blog used to be solely dedicated to crossword puzzles but I have recently updated it and will be posting about a wide variety of topics.

But don't worry my love of crossword puzzles goes on and I will continue to post interesting crossword clues and news I find. Such as this clue from yesterday's (Mon June 22) New York Times Crossword puzzle.

21 across Mocking remark

I moved through this puzzle pretty quickly until the very end when I hit this clue. I looked it up in the dictionary and it means to mock or make fun of. Now that I know the definition the clue seems easy! I'm writing this one down in my crosswordese file in case it comes up again. Do you think I'll be using this word in everyday conversation? In a pig's eye!

In a pig's eye means never by the way and it was also a clue in this puzzle. (18 down _ _ _ pig's eye) Speaking of eyes can you guess this clue.

46 down Cyclops feature

The crossword constructor is Fred Piscop. He has made many crossword puzzles and used to be the crossword editor at the Washington Post. This is his 96th puzzle in the New York Times. He has free crossword puzzles on his website at Every week he puts up a new one.

I'm going to go try one.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Baby Bunny in the Backyard

This spring we've had bunches of bunnies in the backyard. I've caught them eating my tulips. And this little bunny in the video wandered up to my backdoor patio. He stood really, really still until I turned my head and then zoom... he was gone!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Be Inspired - Google Video Contest

If you like to make short videos Google Chrome has a contest that might be just your thing. They are looking for cute and quirky videos to promote their new Google Chrome Icon. Check it out here. Even if you don't make videos you will enjoy watching the ones other people have created. It's sure to make you smile!

A Fair Food Review

Last weekend I went to a local town fair. I listened to some music, walked around the business booths and got a bite to eat. Watch the video above to see what I think about the burger I'm about to eat.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cassie Brenn Quiz

In case you didn't learn enough about me in my official bio, learn some interesting facts in this 5 question quiz.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Official Bio

Cassie Brenn is a freelance writer with published articles in magazines ranging from Highlights for Children to The Guangzhou International Women's Club Gazette. Her writing assignments have sent her crawling in the garden to study the life of red wiggler worms, strolling down fragrant alleys in China looking for monkey head mushrooms and to the banks of the Pearl River to learn the ancient craft of Xiang Yun Sha or mud dyed silk. Her work on jewelry design garnered her a position as one of That's Guangzhou Magazine's Women of Substance in 2006.

Crossword Lingo (Glossary)

Constructor - person who creates crossword puzzles.

Crosswordese - Words that are used often in crossword puzzles.

Criss Cross Puzzles - A crossword puzzle where the words only cross in one or two places. The type of puzzle typically used in schools.

American Style Crossword - a crossword puzzle with overlapping answers that cross at every letter. The type seen in newspapers, magazines, and puzzlebooks.

Grid - The puzzle structure, made up of black and white squares.

Crossword Videos

Crossword Videos

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Go With What You Know

53 across Patton's rank

If you don't know who Patton was, you might think you can't answer this clue. Don't give up too quickly there are things you can do.

First, look at the clue for information you do know. How about rank? What are some common military ranks that you know.


Our list has too many choices that would fit to pick just one in at this point. But as we do the crossing clues and fill in more and more letters, the answer will become clear. You'll be ready to fill it in because you thought it through first.

See if you can guess the word before the final letter is revealed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tricky Clue

59 across Summer color

Each clue is like a word puzzle to solve. Here's a picture hint to help you figure it out.
picture from

Monday, April 20, 2009

Clue of the day

77 across Twiggy home

Looking at this clue we don't know if the capital T is for the first word in the clue or a proper noun. This could be a tricky clue about the residence of the former model and America Next's Top Model Judge, Twiggy or it could be a home made of twigs. Which do you think it is?

photo from flickr CC

Friday, April 17, 2009

Puzzle Time

Let's try a sample puzzle from the Penny Press website. Go to click on Free Puzzles and then click on sample puzzles. Go to Crosswords and choose Penny Press Traditional #1. You don't have to register but you do have to print out the puzzle. Don't look at the solution before you give it a try!

23 across caught my attention because I just watched one of his movies on DVD - Quantum of Solace.

23 across James Bond, e.g.

e.g. means example. Even if you've never seen a James Bond movie, I bet you know what Bond is an example of. It's what he does for a living.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Before it was Toyko

70 across Tokyo
Before Tokyo was called Tokyo it was called by this 3 letter name. You might want to remember this name because it comes up every so often in crosswords.
If you'd like to learn more about life in Japan check out this website Here and There Japan.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What the heck is a clave?

I always learn new things when doing a crossword puzzle and this time I learned the word CLAVE.

14 across Percussion stick
A CLAVE instrument is actual two sticks that when hit together make a sharp, clicking noise. See the photo above of a person playing CLAVE sticks.
(photo in the public domain from

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's like Crosswords and Suduko

9 across Orange's partner

When you see the word partner in a clue it means that you are looking for 2 words that go together with AND in between.

It will look something like this...

____ and orange
orange and ______

This common phrase is used when people are talking about comparing two things that aren't really alike and can't be compared.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crossword Clues

"What's another word for ..... "
That's what you should be thinking when you see these clues.

32 across Bitsy

3 down Couple

Make a list of all the ways you can say bitsy.
Here's my list. Any of them work with the clue above?

Now make a list for couple. Use if you need help

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Crossword Puzzle of the week

I just finished doing Kentucky Easy Crossword #3 edited by VA Benge. Click the link and play along with me.

I love to do these crossword puzzles. The on-line program turns wrong answers red so I immediately know if I've made a wrong move. It helps me become a better solver to see where I've made mistakes and lets me fix them right away. Also the Kentucky Easy Crosswords always include Vocabulary Building Blocks that give a definition for one of the clue answers and an interesting Did You Know paragraph with more in depth information about a clue and answer. Since they also give you the answers, it's a good place to go if you need a little help getting started.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Crossword Puzzle Grids

Before you do your next crossword puzzle take a moment to look at the grid. Crossword grids are neat to look at. The pattern of black and white squares makes a picture. But they aren't just random patterns. Constructors must follow a few rules when they design a puzzle grid.

Here are a few of the rules.
1. Grids must have rotational symmetry. That means if you turn the puzzle upside down the pattern of black and white squares should look the same as it did right side up. Try it and see.

2. Don't use too many black squares. Fewer black squares means more words and longer words.

3. No unchecked words. That means every square should have a letter from an across answer AND a down answer.

Of course, sometimes the rules are broken to make interesting Grid Art. Check out this link to see some examples.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crossword Clues

Still working on the puzzle Odds and Ends

Here are a couple clues I enjoyed. I got the answer by visualizing the situation. Try it for yourself and see if it helps you.

8 down Go from little to big

Picture a seed first it's a little seedling and then it's a big plant.

24 down Kebab sticks

Picture a shish-kebab in your mind. It's a long metal stick with chunks of meat or vegetables. What is the name for that long metal stick?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Crossword Puzzle People

I spotted a Crossword Puzzle Person that we have covered in the past. That's exciting because it means we have an easy answer to get us started. Here it is from the Sportsmanship Crossword.

1 down Guitar-slinging Guthrie

and you can read the previous post here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Crossword Yum

19 across Layout with a little of everything

(Odds and Ends Crossword Puzzle)

Yum the answer to this one is making me hungry. It's a Swedish word that means buffet.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Crosswords on the go

One minute I'm shoveling snow in New Jersey and the next I'm sitting on a sunny porch in Florida. Life is grand! (Ok so it was over a week ago that it snowed and someone else did the shoveling for me but you get the point.)

I love to fly and here's one reason why -
The crossword puzzle in the airlines magazine.

This week I did the 2 crosswords in US Airways Magazine

Click on the link and give them a try. You will find the puzzles toward the bottom of the page.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Crossword Clues

4 down More mature

This is a good, better, best clue. Other people call it a comparative (people like your teacher.)
It's comparing one or more things. When we say something is better, we mean it is better than something else. We can also say it's more of something compared to something else. For example, more rude, more happy, more mature. And still another way to say it is ruder, happier or maturer...Okay so maturer isn't a word but there is another word that means a person who has lived longer than someone else. At the very least, you should be able to guess the last two letters!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Learn Something New

**Spoiler Alert**

I'm going to give you an answer so if you haven't finished the puzzle yet turn back now. (But don't forget to come back later!)
26 across Print Measures
The answer is ENS.

I knew this answer right away because it is crosswordese. I've seen it in many puzzles before but I didn't know what it meant.

Time to look it up. Thanks to the internet I was able to learn that en (pronounced "N") is a measurement word for typography or the art of designing with words and letters. En is the amount of space that the lower case "n" takes up (which is half as much space as em!) Unlike inches, the size of ENS can change depending on the size of font you use.
n n n

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tricky Crossword Clues

34 down A Bird

Ok I had the first 3 letters of this clue. So I was thinking of birds that begin with the first letters LAR...the answer must be LARKS

But the clue isn't a plural so that means the answer is not going to be a plural. LARKS can't be right.

Then I noticed something interesting about the clue. The second word in the clue is capitalized. Usually only the first word is capitalized. That means Bird is a proper noun or another way to put it ... It's someones name!

Do you know who this guy is? He played basketball for the Boston Celtics from 1979 -92. His last name is Bird and his first name is ..... Well, you have to figure that out for yourself!

photos from wikipedia

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Poetry Words

18 down Before, to Poe

What do Poe, Shakespeare, and Keats have in common? They all wrote poetry (among other things.) So, when you see their names in a crossword clue it's a hint that the answer will be a poetry word.

Need more help? Check out this post.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dell Crossword Puzzle

This week we will do a Dell Magazine Sample Crossword. You can find it on their website. Click on the Sample Puzzles tab and print out puzzle Dell Traditional Crossword 1. Hide the answers until after you have finished the puzzle!

Give a quick look over the clues. Do any jump out at you as no-brainers?

There are lots of names in this puzzle. I bet at least one is someone you know.

The only fill-in-the-blank is a puzzle person. If you paid attention in history class, you know this one.
11 across Robert E. ___

Maybe cartoons are more to your liking. He chases Bugs Bunny.
18 across Mr. Fudd

Or maybe your more into music
1 down Singer Dylan

Friday, February 27, 2009

Roman Numerals

Practice your Roman Numerals at this website. They even have some crisscross puzzles with all Roman Numeral clues. Now that's a real challenge!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Crossword Links

From the website Xword Info I am linking you to a page called Most Popular Answers. Webmaster Jim Horne has complied a list of the top 100 answer words that appear in the New York Times. Another name for this could be crosswordese. Although the list is specifically about the New York Times, these words appear often in all crosswords. Go through the list and see how many you know. If you click on a word it will take you to a link of crossword clues for that word. It's a great way to improve your play!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mind Puzzles

Take a break from Crosswords and try these fun puzzles. They will keep you thinking.
ThinkFun Games

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Crossword Movie

Did you know there is a movie about Crosswords? It's true. A few years ago some filmmakers made a documentary called Wordplay. It features New York Times Puzzle editor Will Shortz and the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT.)

You can visit the Wordplay website and see interviews with many top Crossword tournament players. They give tips and answer questions like pen or pencil? There is even a page of crossword vocabulary so study up there might be a quiz later.

Just kidding! But definitely have a look around at all of the great information on this site.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Crossword Links

This week I'll be featuring crossword and crossword related links.

Today's link is a blog called Pat Tricks. It is the site of puzzle creator, author and artist Patrick Merrell. His posts include funny cartoons and puzzles from his different publications and books. Some you can download and play for yourself. Check out this cool magazine cover he designed that features cartoons for crossword clues.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Favorite Crossword Clue

What was your favorite clue and/or answer in this puzzle?
I really liked
25 down Hourglass filler

It was easy to picture an hourglass in my mind and then see each grain slip through the narrow middle. I like clues that I can visualize. It helps me solve them. Try it for yourself.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Crossword Clues

What do ziti, penne, rigatoni have in common?

1. They make up the clue for 42 across
2. they are all a type of

Think specific to general and you'll have your answer.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Crossword Clue Words

Doing Crossword puzzles it's important to know the Lingo.

57 across School reunion attendee, for short

"For short" means the answer will be an abbreviation.

Another way to show the answer will be an abbreviation is to put abbr. after the clue.

67 across the "S" of G.P.S.: Abbr.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Crossword Clues

18 down Suffix with Tokyo or Israel

61 down Suffix with cash, cloth or hotel

Can someone tell me what suffix means? When solving clues, I find it's helpful if you can understand what it's asking for.

I'll look it up in my pocket Oxford Dictionary. It says -
suffix n. letters added at the end of a word to make another word.

So, we are looking for 3 letters to add to the end of each word to make it a new word.
Try to picture it like this
Tokyo_ _ _, Israel_ _ _
cash_ _ _, cloth_ _ _, hotel_ _ _

Of course, you can fill in any letters you know from the crossing clues.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Foreign (Cross)Words

This week's puzzle is a real international affair. Besides the theme of Asian-Americans, there are several foreign language clues. They cover French, German, and Spanish.

The clue gives you the langauge and a word in English. You supply the word in the given language. Don't know French, German or Spanish? You can look up the answer at this website - Babel Fish.

64 across French for "summer"

32 down German for "never"

58 down Month, in Mexico

This last clue gives you the name of a country instead of the language. You need to figure out what language they speak in Mexico. (hint: I said today's clues were going to use French, German and Spanish.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Crossword Roman Numerals

14 across 551, in Roman numerals

Was this one of your easy clues or did you skip it?

I hope you didn't skip it because even if you don't remember what 500 or 50 is in Roman numerals, I bet you know what 1 is. Go ahead and fill it in. It's one more letter toward answering 3 down. You never know it might just be the letter that makes the answer pop into your head.

You can also look up the answer to this or any Roman numeral at this website.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Week - New Crossword Puzzle

We are starting a new puzzle today. We're going back to the New York Times Learning Network to work on their latest crossword puzzle entitled Asian-American History, by Frank Longo, edited by Will Shortz. Click on the puzzle title above or on the link to the right to get the crossword.

As usual, I started the puzzle by doing all of the fill-in-the-blanks. There are lots to choose from in this puzzle so don't worry if you don't know one or two, you will still have plenty of words to get you started.

Once I filled all of them in, I noticed that I had gotten 3 close together, 50, 60 and 61 down, in the lower center block. I decided this would be a good jumping off point. More letters filled in means less work for me.

So, I looked at the crossing clues. 59 and 63 across were both names of famous Asian-Americans. I didn't know the answers but I could use the links on the Learning Network page to find out more. I just started the puzzle so I wasn't ready to look up info just yet.

That left me with -
66 across Person gazing fixedly

Luckily, I knew the answer and then I had a few more letters to build off of. I just kept working across and down building off of each new answer.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Look it up Crossword Clues

Only a few answers left but I'm stuck. Time to look it up!

8 down Yemen Port

Geography is not my best subject. I had to look up this clue. I typed Yemen Port into Google and came up with this website. It has a map of Yemen with all of the ports listed. I looked for one that would fit the space available. Don't be afraid to use references.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Crosswordese - OLE

Crosswordese spoiler alert!
38 down Bullfight cheer

The answer is OLE. I bet you knew that already because OLE comes up often in crossword puzzles. I've even blogged about it before here. It was a different puzzle but the same exact clue. Make a note of it in your crossword files, you never know when you'll see it again.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crosswordese - ABE

Happy Birthday President Lincoln and thank you for being one of our favorite Crossword Puzzle People! Your famous nickname, ABE, has appeared in so many of our crosswords that we can fill it in with ease. I thought it would be fun to create a short video (under a minute!)to highlight some common clues for today's Puzzle Person. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tricky Crossword Clue

47 down Ditto

You may be wondering why I labeled this post Tricky Crossword Clue? It doesn't have a ? at the end. It seems pretty straight forward. Or does it! The tricky part is the answer has 2 words. Sometimes constructors will add 2 wds to the clue itself to give you a heads up but not always. So, keep that in mind when you are solving a clue that you just can't figure out. It just might have more than one word.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crossword Clues

60 across Pepsi

When I saw this clue, I was thinking, "What is another way to say Pepsi?" So, I thought SODA. Since I'm playing on-line this is what I got -

SODA That means it's not the right word but 2 of the letters are correct. Take out the wrong letters and you get -

I'm half way there. What's another word that means Pepsi that would fit?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Crossword Clues

23 across Steel, for example

This clue is asking you what is Steel an example of? Steel is a type of what?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Crossword of the Week

Hi Everyone! I'm back and ready to tackle a new Crossword puzzle challenge. This week I'll be working on Kentucky Easy Crossword puzzle 001. You can find it at the link in the sidebar or click on the name of the puzzle above.

When you are playing a crossword puzzle on-line sometimes you feel like you have to go in order 1 across, 5 across, 10 across but you don't. You can scroll down the list of clues and start anywhere you want, like fill-in-the-blanks, for example. Just click on the clue you want to answer.

This puzzle also gives you 2 hints at the bottom of the page. You'll see them labeled as Vocabulary Building Blocks and Did You Know? Actually, they are more like answers, so use them to help get yourself started.

And don't forget - Have Fun!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Crossword Clues

What do these 3 clues have in common?

2 down Fruity drinks
15 across Succotash beans
8 down Words that end prayers

Need a hint? Look at the last letters of each clue.

Need another hint? It's the same letter that will end each answer!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Crossword Themes

Unlike traditional crosswords, this puzzle's theme is not limited to the longest answers in the grid. But like a traditional puzzle, they are all related to a single theme which can be summed up by the title - The Civil Rights Movement.

I bet you know some of the answers off the top of your head (like 67 across.) But others might not be familiar to you. Beneath the puzzle on the New York Times Learning Network website you will find links that will help you find the answers to theme clues.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tricky Crossword Clues

We are still working on The New York Times Learning Network Crossword Puzzle, The Civil Rights Movement, by Frank A. Longo, edited by Will Shortz. You can find the link to this puzzle in the sidebar.

Today's tricky crossword clue is a direction clue or what I like to call a compass clue.

44 across U-turn from SSW

For this clue you are going to need to make a picture in your mind. First imagine a compass. If you have problems picturing it, you can draw one on a piece of paper or look at this one. Now pretend you are on your bike and you are traveling SSW. Imagine a line coming from the center through the arrow that says SSW. Now you decide you don't want to go that way any more you want to return the way you came so you make a U-turn. You follow the line back to the center of the compass and you keep riding in a straight line. Now what arrow are you going to ride through? That is your answer. It is the opposite of SSW.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Last week it was 45 down Cookie that's often twisted apart. This week it's -

28 down Creme-filled cookie

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Crossword Puzzle

I am out of town this week so I'm having trouble posting. But I will do my best.

Hopefully, you were able to finish the last week's crossword puzzle and you are ready for the next challenge. Let's continue with the Crossword on The New York Times Learning Network.

Looking over the puzzle I see lots of fill-in-the-blanks. Those would be a good place to start but I also see a question on my favorite TV show The Simpsons.

41 across Bart Simpson's age

This is what I like to call a no-brainer because I know the answer without thinking about it. But maybe you don't even know who Bart Simpson is, let alone how old he is. For you, a no-brainer might be a sports related clue such as -

36 across Home of football's Dolphins

Scan the clues and look for your no-brainers. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go watch The Simpsons!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Crossword Puzzle People Bonus

Here is a link to a bonus crossword puzzle you can play online at Kentucky Crosswords. The reason I picked this link is because there is a blurb about Alan Alda. I hope the name sounds familiar because he is one of the Puzzle People who appeared in the crossword we have been looking at the last two weeks.

37 down "M*A*S*H" star Alan

That's why it's good to learn your puzzle people and crosswordese, you never know when you will see them again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Crossword References

15 down "Rebel Without a Cause" actor Mineo

What do we know about this clue?
We know it's the first name of an actor with the last name Mineo and Mineo was in the movie Rebel Without a Cause.

I don't know the answer so I have to look it up. Since this crossword clue is about a movie, I'm going to use the Internet Movie Database to look it up. You can find it here Type Mineo into the search box and the first item on the list is the answer to our clue.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Crossword Geography

19 across ____ de Janeiro, Brazil

Don't much about Geography? Try typing Brazil into Google and then clicking on maps on the toolbar along the top edge of the search window.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crossword Clues Foreign Words

38 down "Yes, yes!", in Spain: 2 wds.

This clue gives us lots of information.
1. We have a phrase "yes, yes!" So, we need to find another way to say it.
2. In Spain... the answer will be in Spanish.
3. 2 wds.... this means the answer will have 2 words.

Put it all together and we are looking for 2 Spanish words that together mean "yes, yes!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crossword Clue Analysis

67 down "It's freezing out here!"

What's another way to say, "It's freezing out here!" Try to picture it in your mind. It's snowing. The wind is blowing. You step out of your nice warm house to go catch the bus and your teeth start to chatter.....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Crossword Clue Analysis

68 down Cashew, pistachio, or pecan

What information is this clue giving us? We have 3 items - a cashew, a pistachio, a pecan. If we were going to put a label on this group what would we call it? I'm not going to give the answer away but I bet you know it.

The next thing we know from the clue is whether the answer is a plural or singular. Do we add an S to the end or not? The answer is no S because the word OR seperates the items. If it was AND then it would be plural.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Crossword Clue Analysis

We are moving right along with this crossword. For the next few days we will take a look at individual clues. We will analyze them for information that will help us solve them.

Here is today's clue -
54 across Four minus three

Obviously, this is a math problem. The first thing we need to do is solve it. (Lucky for me it's an easy equation!) 4-3=1

Okay, so the answer is 1. But how do we put numbers into a crossword grid? There are 2 ways - Roman numerals or we spell out the number.

We can rule out Roman numerals for the answer because the clue did not make any references to Latin, ancient Rome, Caesar, etc. It didn't use Roman numerals to show the problem either. Besides one in Roman numerals is I and that just doesn't work.

Thus, we must spell. And that's your answer.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Just for Fun

Check out this apartment building in Ukraine. It has a giant crossword puzzle on the side of the building.

It must make giving directions to your apartment easy.... go 1 across and 2 down ...

Crossword Puzzle Theme

Today we are going to look at the crossword puzzle's theme and title.

I bet you already know what the theme (or topic) of this crossword puzzle is. Hint, hint look at the title. That's right - Winter Weather! The longest answers in the crossword are where we find the theme entries. This puzzle has theme entries at 17 across, 34 across, 46 across, 63 across, 10 down, and 30 down.

Try working on these clues today. You already have alot of information to help you out. First, you know they all have something to do with Winter Weather. Second, you can read more about the subject with the links provide below the puzzle and third, you already have some of the letters filled in.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Crossword Connections

Okay, we've got a good start to our crossword puzzle. Now it's time to start building off of the answers we have filled in.

Looking at the grid, in the upper left hand side of the puzzle I see we have answers for 1 down and 2 down. This gives us the first 2 letters for 1 across, 13 across, and 17 across. 1 across and 13 across are 4 letter words so they are both half done for us already. Let's look at those clues and see if we can fill them in.

1 across See 55-across
(55 across With 1-across, body in the atmosphere covering a wide area and containing uniform conditions of temperature and humidity)

13 across Last word of a prayer

Okay, now that we have those two clues finished, it gives us the first two letters for 3 down and 4 down. See if you can answer those clues and then continue on with the rest of the puzzle building off answers.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Puzzle People

Crossword Puzzle People fall into 2 categories -
1. Famous People we may or may not know.
2. Crosswordese - some people appear in crossword puzzles often. Usually because their names have lots of vowels and other popular letters that make it easy for constructors to fit it in the crossword puzzle.

In case number one, if you know the name great fill it in. If not, skip it. We'll deal with it later.
In case number two, hopeful you know a few names that pop up regularly in crossword puzzles and you know how they are commonly clued. (if not type puzzle people in the search box above. That should get you started!) These will be as easy as crosswordese to fill in the grid.

Look through the list of clues for puzzle people and fill in the ones you know. Here are the ones I filled in.
72 across Mao ___-tung
I knew the answer to this but I wasn't sure how it was spelled so I penciled it in lightly to start.

2 down Gospel singer Grant and Jimmy Carter's daughter
With 2 clues in one I was sure about this answer! But notice the word AND it means the clue will be a plural that gives us one letter without even trying.

37 down "M*A*S*H" star Alan
This one is a popular Puzzle Person.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Another easy way to get the puzzle started and to add more answers to the grid is to look for crosswordese that you know. Here are some that I knew -

43 across Yale student
This is the perfect example of crosswordese. It appears often in crossword puzzles but I have no idea what the word means or where it came from. I only know it as a crossword clue. If you don't know what it is check the hint for another way this answer word is often clued.

28 down Female sheep

We know there is an E for the third letter because it crosses with 39 across which we answered yesterday.

45 down Cookie that's often twisted apart

Monday, January 5, 2009

Where to Begin a Crossword Puzzle

We are working on the crossword puzzle Winter Weather, by Frank A. Longo, edited by Will Shortz. puzzle link

Where did you begin this puzzle? Did you start with 1 across? I like to start with fill-in-the-blank clues because they're usually pretty easy.

Here's a couple of examples from the puzzle
39 across ___-friendly (safe for the environment)

22 down Tickle-me ____ (Muppet doll)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year

Welcome back to Crossword Tips for Kids!

I'm going to do things a little different this year. Instead of bringing you random tips and clues, we're going to focus on specific crossword puzzles. I'll post the link to a crossword puzzle site every other Sunday and then for the next 2 weeks we'll look at clues and discuss tips from that puzzle.

This week's puzzle is from the New York Times Learning Network, Winter Weather, by Frank A. Longo, edited by Will Shortz
puzzle link

Click on the link above, try your best to solve the puzzle and check back here daily.

Good Luck and see you tomorrow!